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Collection Number: 04282

Collection Title: John Wroughton Mitchell Papers, 1817-1865

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 150 items)
Abstract John Wroughton Mitchell was born in 1796 in Charleston, S.C., and elected Charleston city attorney in October 1817. That same year, he began his law practice in Charleston and became active in Episcopal affairs there. In 1832, Mitchell held "offices of justice and notary" in Charleston and was an opponent of John C. Calhoun in the nullification crisis. He moved to New York City around 1833 and continued his law practice there, also serving as Commissioner of Deeds of South Carolina in New York City. He was founder of churches and active in Episcopal affairs in the city. During the civil War, Mitchell was a Peace Democrat in New York City, where he died in 1878. Correspondence and related material of John Wroughton Mitchell, a Charleston, S.C., attorney and later Commissioner of Deeds of South Carolina in New York City. These papers are principally professional correspondence received by Mitchell in New York, but also included are a significant number of personal letters. Topics of the letters include legal matters, the nullification crisis, daily life in Charleston, effects of the Panic of 1837, the city's great fire of 1838, slaves in Charleston, news of family and friends, and developments in certain court cases.
Creator Mitchell, John Wroughton, 1796-1878.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the John Wroughton Mitchell Papers #4282, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy available.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Terry Alford of Springfield, Va., in August 1981 and purchased with funds from the Fletcher M. Green Purchase Fund.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

John Wroughton Mitchell, son of John Hinckley Mitchell, was born 26 May 1796 in Charleston, S.C. Mitchell was elected Charleston city attorney in October 1817. That same year, he began his law practice in Charleston and became active in Episcopal affairs there. In 1827, Mitchell allowed John Charles Freemont to study under him and eventually sent Freemont to John Robertson's preparatory school in Charleston.

In 1832, Mitchell held "offices of justice and notary" in Charleston and was an opponent of John C. Calhoun in the nullification crisis. Mitchell moved to New York City around 1833 and continued his law practice there. He also served as Commissioner of Deeds of South Carolina in New York City. He was founder of churches and active in Episcopal affairs in the city. During the Civil War, Mitchell was a Peace Democrat in New York City. He died 31 July 1878.

(For further information see The Mitchell Record (1926) by Clarence Blair Mitchell.)

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

Correspondence and related material of John Wroughton Mitchell, a Charleston, S.C., attorney and later Commissioner of Deeds of South Carolina in New York City. These papers are principally professional correspondence received by Mitchell in New York, but also included are a significant number of personal letters. Topics of the letters include legal matters, the nullification crisis, daily life in Charleston, effects of the Panic of 1837, the city's great fire of 1838, slaves in Charleston, news of family and friends, and developments in certain court cases.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1817-1865.

About 140 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Chiefly letters, 1837-1846, to John W. Mitchell, attorney in New York and Commissioner of Deeds for the state of South Carolina there. Principal correspondents include Mitchell's cousin, Thomas C. Marshall, a stockholder in Charleston's Planters' and Merchants' Bank; Judge George B. Eckhand, Mitchell's financial and legal adviser in Charleston; John W. Mitchell's nephew, William Henry Vernon, who served in a similar capacity after the death of Eckhand; Reverend Andrew Fowler, Episcopal priest of Christ Church Parish, S.C.; and a number of Charleston lawyers who wrote to request Mitchell's services. These included L. H. Mowzon, Claudian B. Northrop, Henry Alexander DeSaussure, Abraham Moise, attorney and artist John Blake White, and the firm of Petigru and Lesesne. There are also a few letters from Christopher Edwards Gadsden, Episcopal bishop of South Carolina, and single letters from industrialist Charles M. Furman, Judge John Smythe Richardson, and Christopher C. Memminger. Other letters are from Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, the Grimkes, Mayor Henry Laurens Pinckney, and James Henry Hammond.

The correspondence generally relates to legal and financial matters of John W. Mitchell, but letters also include reflections on daily life in and around Charleston in the antebellum period. Legal and financial topics such as commissions requested of Mitchell in New York, opinions in court cases, the cost of foodstuffs in Charleston, and the collection of Mitchell's accounts in Charleston are discussed. Other topics include the nullification crisis, the Panic of 1837 and the resulting decline in business, the Charleston fire of 1838, and the widespread devastation in the city in the first months after the Civil War. The climate, health conditions, the general quality of life, politics, the state of business in Charleston through the immediate postwar period, and the institution of slavery in the city and the living and working conditions of slaves there are also discussed.

Folder 1

1817, 1828 #04282, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1817-1865." Folder 1

Folder 2

1832, 1835 #04282, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1817-1865." Folder 2

Folder 3

1837 February-May #04282, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1817-1865." Folder 3

Folder 4

1837 June-December #04282, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1817-1865." Folder 4

Folder 5

1838 January-May #04282, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1817-1865." Folder 5

Folder 6

1838 June-December #04282, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1817-1865." Folder 6

Folder 7

1839 January-March #04282, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1817-1865." Folder 7

Folder 8

1839 April-June #04282, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1817-1865." Folder 8

Folder 9

1839 July-December #04282, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1817-1865." Folder 9

Folder 10

1845 January-April #04282, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1817-1865." Folder 10

Folder 11

1845 May-November #04282, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1817-1865." Folder 11

Folder 12

1846 January-October #04282, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1817-1865." Folder 12

Folder 13

1849 #04282, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1817-1865." Folder 13

Folder 14

1856-1865 #04282, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1817-1865." Folder 14

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Financial and Legal Material, 1826-1857 and undated.

7 items.

Receipts, a statement of account, a sworn statement of a witnesses in a court case, a commission notice for John Wroughton Mitchell and his son, Clarence Mitchell, in a federal case, and other items.

Folder 15

Financial and legal material, 1826-1857 and undated #04282, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Material, 1826-1857 and undated." Folder 15

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Processing Information

Processed by: Suzanne Ruffing, August 1996

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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